Xabi Alonso’s Bayer Leverkusen continued its unbeaten start to the season by sinking derby rival Cologne 3-0 to return to the Bundesliga summit on Sunday.
Leverkusen was superb in attack, goals from Jonas Hofmann, Jeremie Frimpong and Victor Boniface taking the side to a dominant victory against its struggling opponent.
A World Cup winner with Spain as a player in 2010, Alonso’s influence on Leverkusen was clear in the home side’s first goal, Hofmann finishing off a slick team move for the opener.
Boniface slid the ball to Alex Grimaldo on the left flank, the Spain defender finding Florian Wirtz who back-heeled for Hofmann to score his sixth goal in 10 games since moving from Gladbach in the summer.
Leverkusen doubled its advantage shortly afterwards, Grimaldo threading a ball across the face of goal for Frimpong to tap home.
Boniface scored Leverkusen’s third midway through the second half, turning in an inch-perfect pass from Hofmann from close range to make it seven goals in seven league appearances this season.
Boniface had a chance to score a second late in the match, but skewed his shot just wide.
Leverkusen has now won nine of their 10 matches in all competitions this season, only dropping points in a pulsating 2-2 draw at reigning champion Bayern Munich.
The loss leaves Cologne stranded alone at the bottom of the table, with just one point.
Bayern can cut the gap to Leverkusen back to two points with a win at home against Freiburg later on Sunday, while Eintracht Frankfurt hosts promoted Heidenheim in the final match of the weekend.